homemade weed killer

How to Keep Pesky Weeds Away by Using Homemade Weed Killer

Even the most beautiful and well manicured lawns are susceptible to weeds. In fact, often times it is the healthiest lawns that are the most inviting for these pesky invaders. If you are not diligent in removing your weeds, they can quickly take over your entire garden. Most people will instinctively reach for a bottle of Roundup when they see the heads of dandelions start to bloom. However, there are many homemade weed killer options you can make at home. These options are more environmentally friendly and safe for families with young children or pets. You will be surprised how effective many of these homemade weed killer remedies can be in your yard. So if you are anxious to try a greener garden this season, consider trying one of these homemade weed killers.

Homemade Weed Killer Spray

The most popular homemade weed killer is a DIY spray that you can use exactly like its store bought counterparts. While there are many different recipes for homemade weed killer sprays online, they all use variations of the same ingredients: Salt, vinegar and dishwashing liquid soap. The vinegar and salt have acetic acid which draws moisture out of the weed. The dishwashing liquid soap acts as a surfactant agent. Basically that means the soap helps the solution remain on the leaves of the plant rather than absorbed. Spray this concoction during the sunniest parts of the day for fastest results. It is also good to use a spray bottle that has a stream spray setting. Aim the solution directly onto the weeds and avoid surrounding plants and soil. Unlike the chemicals in weed killers, this homemade weed killer will harm any plant life it comes into contact with.

Boiling Water

For a homemade weed killer that is effective, inexpensive and 100% chemical free try a pot of boiling water. Simply bring a pot of water to boil and then very carefully pour the boiling water over your weeds. The extreme heat of the water will scald and kill the weed roots. Make sure you pour slowly to avoid getting splashed. This homemade weed killer remedy works best in sidewalk cracks, and other pesky locations where weeds can pop up. Avoid using boiling water on weeds in your lawn or flower beds and this remedy will kill healthy plants as well as weeds.

Lemon Juice

Another favorite organic weed killer is lemon juice. Much like the vinegar and salt in the DIY spray, lemon juice is full of acid which will dry out the weed and its leaves. Soak a weed in lemon juice and within the next few days the weed will gradually wilt and die. While fresh lemon juice works best, not everyone has access a lemon tree. Fortunately, you can also use lemon juice from a supermarket. Just be sure to add some vinegar to your lemon juice spray for an extra homemade weed killer kick!

Straw

While applying a solution on top of a weed is a great way to kill weeds that have already grown, there are also measures of prevention you can use. Spreading straw over open areas in a flower or vegetable garden is a great way to prevent weeds. Not only does straw help prevent unwanted weed growth, but as the straw breaks down it will naturally fertilize your soil. Did you know you can even plant your garden directly into a straw bale?

Landscaping Fabric

Many professional landscapers and gardeners prefer to use landscaping fabric to suppress weeds. This is because landscaping fabric can effectively cover large areas. Landscaping fabric works as a homemade weed killer in two different ways. The first way is that it suffocates and kills any existing weeds by cutting them off from light and air. Once existing weeds have died, the second way landscaping fabric kills weeds is by making it difficult for new weed seeds to reach the soil. So if you have a large scale garden that you would like to protect from weeds, you may want to invest in landscaping fabric.

Newspaper and Mulch

If you do not have a large garden, but would still like to protect your soil from unwanted intruders, consider using mulch and newspaper. Even the professionals will reach for newspapers to cover their gardens. Layering mulch and newspaper acts just like landscaping fabric, in that it suffocates existing weeds while preventing new weeds from spreading seeds.

Ground Cover Plants

Growing up my mother used to always say, “Nature abhors a void”. Meaning, if you don’t plant something in that empty space, nature will fill it up with weeds. If you have lots of empty space in your gardens consider planting ground cover plants in them before the weeds have a chance to move in. Golden Creeping Jenny and Mazus are two excellent ground cover plants to try. These plants are generally low maintenance and not only deter weeds, but add beauty to your garden. 

Cornmeal

If you are suffering from crabgrass, dandelions, and chickweed growing in your lawn, the solution may be sitting in your pantry. Cornmeal acts as a fantastic homemade weed killer against these lawn invaders. The cornmeal gluten is an organic herbicide that will prevent and kill weeds. Simply scatter the cornmeal over soil as needed. Wait a few days, and watch the weeds shrink from your view.

Rubbing Alcohol

Another homemade weed killer to try is rubbing alcohol. Most people have a bottle of rubbing alcohol in their first aid kits or bathroom cabinet. Simply mix together 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol with 1 quart of warm water. Add the mixture to a spray bottle so you can mist it over the weeds you are trying to kill. The rubbing alcohol will dehydrate the plant. Repeat the process as needed until the weeds die.

Baking Soda

Most people have access to baking soda in their pantries. Not only can you use baking soda in your baking, but it also removes odors and kills weeds! Who knew? Like other homemade weed killers, baking soda should be used with caution. Shake a good amount of baking soda over weeds growing in sidewalk cracks or near the foundation of your house. Avoid putting baking soda on weeds that are near other plants, as the baking soda will kill off healthy plants too.

Remove by Hand

While this may not be the most glamorous method of weed removal it is the most reliable. All you need is a good pair of garden gloves and a little bit of patience. Although some of these homemade weed killer recipes will kill of the plant, not many of them are effective against the weed root system. Physically removing weeds from your garden is the best way to insure that they do not come back. If you water the weeds before pulling them out, the soil will be softer and the will make the process go smoothly. So don’t be afraid to get on your hands and knees to pull up a weed or two on the weekends.

In Conclusion

If your lawn is filling fast with weeds, there are many different options available to help you get rid of them. These homemade weed killer ideas are safe, cheap and effective.

Amy O'Brien

I am a mother, homeowner, and a DIY kind of gal. Whether it’s backpacking in the mountains or throwing a BBQ in my backyard, I love bringing my family to the great outdoors!

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